Thursday, September 30th, 2004
11:52 pm - Hec Is Correct  
You know what the difference is between hitting .250 and hitting .300 is? It's twenty-five hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks--that means if you get one extra flare a week--just one--a gork, you get a ground ball, you get a ground ball with eyes, you get a dying quail--just one more dying quail a week and you're in Yankee Stadium. -- Crash Davis

So I didn't see the conversation about Manny Ramirez's ability as a hitter in Natter until way too late to respond, so I thought I'd do it here.

Manny Ramirez is the best hitter in the American League. That's not just for his career. That's also this year. His last six seasons, including this one, have been remarkably consistent. Is he streaky within the season? Sure, but in the end he always seems to wind up with the same numbers year in and year out, and those numbers are always among the best in baseball.

Here's a list of AL hitters ranked by OPS (On Base Pct. plus Slugging Pct., a much better measure of hitting ability than batting average). The Major League list is here. Manny is easily the best hitter in the AL. There are only seven guys in the NL who have better numbers. One of them is Bonds, who's in the stratosphere. Four of them play for the Cardinals. The really scary thing is that three of those four Cardinals are Gold Glovers as well.

Ortiz is fifth best hitter in the AL right now. One of the things that came up in the conversation in Natter is the notion that the Sox don't hit as well as last year, so they can't afford to carry Pokey and Mientkiewicz in the lineup. Nonsense. The Sox are the best offensive team in baseball this year, just as they were last year. They've scored thirty more runs than the next nearest team. They can afford to lose a little offense to bolster one of the worst defenses in the league. It's probably no coincidence that their big win streak came right after the arrivals of Cabrera and Mientkiewicz.

You know what the difference between hitting .310 and .315 is? Two or three hits a season. One of these days I need talk about sabermetrics.

Best line of the day, from Mike Francesa of WFAN after the Cubs lost another extra inning game: "When they do the autopsies on the Cubs at the end of the season, they should have no problem finding their hearts. They'll be in their throats."

The Cubs have been choking badly against the Mets and the Reds. They look like a dead team.

More interesting stuff about the Expos move here. Apparently this won't exactly be easy, and will make future moves very difficult because of the precedent baseball is setting by paying off the Orioles to let Washington have a team. Best potential new name? The Capital Punishment.
Current Mood: pained
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Veejaneveejane on September 30th, 2004 - 09:26 pm
Bah. Cindy summed it up best for me: I would trust Manny more if he were not a total flake.

Actually I just really like the idea of a no-stars team being really really good. More team-y, you know?

Francona's said several times that he's keeping Millar, etc. in for the hitting potential, and that's why MientK is benched. (Fucks with his contract prospects, too. I gather he's pretty frustrated.) So average is a direct factor in whether you start. This seems the opposite of the philosophy that sought out gold glovers in the big summer trade, "because we need more defense", but the fact is, the gold glovers are on the bench right now, except for Cabrera.

(And anyway, the huge team streak in August was related to several factors only peripherally related to the trade, including things like Varitek hitting .450 for about 3 weeks. Gordon Edes in the Globe the other day also pointed out that the streak started before the trade, so although I'm happy to have MientK on the team, he can't really be called the magic bullet O' winning.)
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DXMachinadxmachina on September 30th, 2004 - 09:39 pm
Just don't come crying to me when the game winner goes through Millar's legs...
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deborah gdebg on September 30th, 2004 - 10:12 pm
One of them is Bonds, who's in the stratosphere.

He's been in a mild slump, actually, and his batting average tonight was down around .362. But it did my heart good to watch him beat out an infield single, on his elderly legs.

I have a huge soft spot for the Red Sox, but I haven't been keeping up on their individual hitters for a while (my main memories centre around Jim Rice). Consistency is a very desirable thing in an average (as in, hits for average, not ho-hum mediocre average) hitter....
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